In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
Like lots of people, I enjoy a good film. I also enjoy a bad film, as long as it knows that it’s bad and isn’t taking itself too seriously. But occasionally I come away from a film experience feeling little other than mourning for the two hours of my life that I’m never getting back. (And I’m not even going to mention Twilight. Well, maybe just once.)
In the course of the last few months alone there have been three notable occasions when I have watched a film and then really wished I hadn’t bothered. I should just clarify for the sake of not looking like a social recluse that I use the word “alone” here to highlight the high frequency of such occurances in such a short space of time. I am not in any way suggesting that I have spent the last three months as a solitary being.
Anyway, I shall now proceed to chronicle the misjudged viewing choices which resulted in me asking very politely if the nice people behind the Customer Services Desk of life would be kind enough to please refund those two hours that I spent, please, if it’s not too much bother, I still have the receipt.
1. I couldn’t help but feel this way as I emerged from the pit of misery I had been sitting in for the whole 133 excruciating minutes of Norwegian Wood. Trust me, you would have been counting them quite precisely too. My friends were similarly despondant as our tentative post-traumatic analysis gradually morphed from “It was alright” to “Actually I didn’t really like it” and finally ending up at “To be honest my life would be significantly better if I hadn’t just watched that film”.
So as not to appear too much of a grumpy cynic sitting in my room and remonstrating about how terrible things are without providing any substantial evidence that I could do any better myself, I should tell you that there were a couple of things I liked about the film. Literally a couple: the direction was quite nice and the camera work was good. Otherwise, yeah, a pit of misery.
As the film opens we are introduced to three friends, happily roaming around some fields, climbing trees and looking at flowers. Because that’s all arty and shit, and this is an independent film and by God are we going to make you painfully aware of that fact. Then one of them commits suicide. And you think “ok, a bit gloomy, but hopefully things will start looking up soon”. Little do you know at this stage that this is the high point of the film, and really it’s downhill from here on in. Compared to the rest of the film this bit is sunshine and rainbow-coloured candyfloss.
So for the next 133 minutes you will get to watch characters with almost no endearing qualities whatsoever as they go ahead and make a dog’s breakfast of their own lives and the lives of any person foolish enough to at one point have cared about them. Until you feel like saying to them “look, I know your friend died and that was all very sad and everything, but if you just pulled yourself together this would be an awful lot better for everyone involved. Including me.”
And you can’t leave, partly because you paid roughly £7 for this pleasure, and partly because standing up and walking out would be much too decisive and besides, you might offend someone. You’re not entirely sure who because the people who made the film certainly aren’t going to find out, and the people who own the cinema don’t care because you’ve already paid roughly £7 for your ticket. But mostly it’s because this is an indepedent cinema, showing arty, intelligent, independent films and you have to go along with the pretence that you are enjoying all of this morbid independency because it’s all so terribly meaningful and you completely understand what the director was totally, like, trying to say.
Anyway, you have no choice but to sit through the whole 133 minutes. By which time, incidentally, you will have lost all feeling in your bottom and possibly the ability to walk but you won’t find that out until you’ve sat through the arty, independent credits.
And let’s not forget about the sex. Because if you’ve sat through this film then you certainly won’t be able to, it will be burned onto your memory and, more concerningly, your eardrums for quite some time. But what’s wrong with sex, you may cry. Sex is fun, or hot, or tender, or, well, sexy, right? According to Norwegian Wood, apparently not. According to Norwegian Wood, sex is unpleasant and causes mental health issues and, most disturbingly, invloves people making lots of genuinely horrifying noises.
So all in all, by the time the credits have rolled and you have discovered that your legs do work enough to propell you a good distance away from the scene of the crime, you will realise something deeply upsetting. You will realise that you just paid to spend 133 minutes watching irritating people making each other miserable, having unpleasant sex, talking about how unpleasant sex is and all the gory details of unpleasant sex, making each other even more miserable, until one of them eventually kills herself, making the other one a little bit more miserable.
And to top it all off, you still won’t have any idea what the bloody hell any of it had to do with that Beatles song.
2. Smaller rant this time, I promise. I recently made the mistake of watching Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. This is a smaller rant because I don’t have any fundamental issues with the film itself, just the fact that it creeped me the fuck out. Ok, I’ll admit, the title wasn’t exactly promising of a cosy, family film involving lots of fluffy animals and kindly old gentlemen. (But that one sounds good, someone should make that one). Though I had hoped it might be an enjoyable romp through eighteenth century France, perhaps one to which the word “caper” might easily be applied.
I was wrong. It was just really creepy. And not in a fun, let’s go and scare ourselves by watching horror movies kind of a way. Because with horror films you know what you’re getting, but this one sort of creeps up on you like an abused perfumier who wants to kill you so he can bottle your smell.
Much like the main character in fact (gosh, it’s almost as if I planned that!). Obviously it doesn’t take much detective work to decipher that the main character is going to be a naughty person who does bad things like kill people, but I was rather hoping that he might be a dashing and lovable rogue. Alas not. More like a thin, pasty man who, if he meets you down a dark alley, will hit you on the head and then sniff you all over. All over.
There is a smattering of light relief in this film though. Dustin Hoffman is a slightly shoddy perfumier who teaches Sir Sniffs-a-lot everything he knows. Well not everything, not the how-to-murder-young-girls-and-cover-them-in-animal-fat thing. And Alan Rickman panics nasally at sporadic intervals throughout, which is quite entertaining, if you like Alan Rickman, or nasal panicking.
3. Red Riding Hood. Now, this one is a bit of a cheat to be honest because, although it was, without a shadow of a doubt, a spectacularly terrible film, I am quite glad that I watched it. Not least because it gave me a number three when I had really run out of ideas and anyone who has been food shopping with their mum will confirm that two items does not an adequate list make.
It is terrible. Really, really terrible, and you should not watch it. Except that you should because how can you possibly regret watching a film which saw nothing wrong with the line: “Lock him up… in the elephant!!!”